Early in sobriety a member introduced me to spring hiking in the So Cal desert. It became one of my favorite ways to connect with the awe and beauty of nature and my Higher Power. Miles and miles of rocks and sand and cactus and sage brush. Total silence. If there was exactly the right amount of rain the previous winter and if the wind blew exactly the right way to carry the seeds, the desert floor would be painted with splashes of color from tiny wildflowers. This was a special treat.
One thing about the desert is the landscape looks the same. You can walk for miles and feel like you've been standing still -- like you haven't made any progress at all. Occasionally I would glance behind me. The ranger station with the flag pole where we parked out car and started out hike looked tiny in the distance. Only then did I have a sense about how far we had walked.
Recovery is like that for me. If I don't occasionally look back at where I've come from, I feel like I have been standing still. Sometimes my alcoholic life feels like a dream. Thank God for newcomers. They provide a glimpse into what it used to be like. They helped me see how far I've come and I remember to be grateful for the journey.